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Phantasm - Ward: Fantasies & Verse Anthems - The Observer


19 October 2014
The Observer
Stephen Pritchard
4 Stars

We can only speculate what England might have been like had typhoid not carried away Henry, Prince of Wales in 1612, but we can be certain that liturgical music would have flourished in his reign. This cultivated young man relished above all the thick-textured combination of viols and voices in that peculiarly English invention, the verse anthem. Henry spent a brief spell at Magdalen, Oxford, so it's appropriate that the college choir should join with resident consort Phantasm to record, with luminous clarity, some mellifluous examples of the form by John Ward (c1589-1638). His attractive word painting is vividly realised here, while his liberal use of repetition and layered imitation has an incantatory quality, particularly in the stately Praise the Lord, O My Soul.


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